PHANTOM BREAKER BATTLE GROUNDS Mikoto 01 500x276 Learn how to play Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds (XBLA, Spring 2013) with these character move trailers

I’m not sure what’s going on with the Western release of Phantom Breaker, 5pb’s 2D fighting game for the Xbox 360 that came out in Japan last year, and was supposed to have been released earlier in 2012.

But at least Phantom Breaker: Battle Grounds, a 4-player side-scrolling beat-em-up spin-off, is still well on track for a Spring 2013 release both in and outside of Japan.

Call it a benefit of digital distribution or what you will. I’m just glad that gamers outside of Japan won’t have to wait an entire year (or possibly longer) after the title’s maiden release in its home country just to be able to buy and play the game.

Especially since every new video of the title publisher 5pb has shown has only been further indication that this will be the next great 4-player co-op experience, right up there with past XBLA greats Castle Crashers and Castlevania: Harmony of Despair (I’m not counting Hard Corps or Guardian Heroes since they only support 2-player co-op).

Opening movie

It’s still a good three to four months longer before the side-scroller sees the light of day digital release. Nevertheless, if you’re inclined, you can start learning how to play and formulate team tactics today, for 5pb has just put out a bunch of character move trailers that run through all of the playable characters’ special attacks.

There’s also an opening movie (as seen above), which for some reason claims that the game has four playable characters (even though 5pb put up six character move trailers). 5pb has yet to announce anything on the DLC front, I believe, but the incongruity between what the opening movie is claiming and the actual number of playable characters available can only mean one thing: two of the six characters are either hidden at the start, or DLC.

Main heroines

Secret or DLC characters: